The so-called British socialite who has long been accused of being a top co-conspirator in dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged child sex-trafficking scheme was arrested by the FBI on Thursday. Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, is expected to appear in federal court later in the day.
The charges are reportedly out of the Southern District of New York, which was the U.S. Attorney’s office that brought charges against Epstein last year.
The first count, according to the indictment: “Conspiracy to Entice Minors to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts.”
Maxwell, the former friend and partner of Epstein, has been accused of recruiting young girls for Epstein to sexual assault and of participating in those alleged assaults. For that, she has been called Epstein’s “madam.” It was known that the FBI has been investigating Maxwell and others. Epstein officially died in August by suicide at a Manhattan jail after being charged with sex trafficking, but individuals who have long been accused of conspiring with Epstein and participating in an alleged child sex trafficking ring may still be held accountable.
After Epstein’s death, Maxwell remained elusive and out of public view.
Back in the late 2000s, Epstein infamously received an extraordinarily plea deal, despite overwhelming evidence that he sexually abused numerous young girls. Former Trump administration Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges for soliciting prostitution from a minor. Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in jail, which he served in a private wing of the Palm Beach state prison and was permitted to leave the premises for 12 hours a day, six days a week as part of a “work release” pass.
But the plea deal didn’t just affect Epstein. Federal sex trafficking charges were dropped against him, and co-conspirators received immunity. The FBI was investigating Maxwell and several others who allegedly “facilitated” Esptein’s crimes.
One of the individuals who has accused Maxwell of wrongdoing, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said Maxwell recruited her. Maxwell and Epstein sex-trafficked her to Prince Andrew, Giuffre claimed:
The first time in London, I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and she said, ‘you’re gonna meet a prince today.’ I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince. And then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London. And we went out to club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol. It was in the VIP section. I’m pretty sure it was vodka. Prince Andrew was like, ‘Let’s dance together.’ And I was like, ‘Okay.’ And we leave club Tramp. And I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey. And Ghislaine said, ‘He’s coming back to the house. And I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.’ I couldn’t believe it.
Giuffre also said Maxwell trained her to recruit the “youngest looking” girls she could find. Maxwell has called Giuffre’s allegations lies, but Giuffre filed a defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015 that is still relevant to this day (see the news from yesterday).
Two sisters, Maria Farmer and Annie Farmer, have also accused Maxwell of participating in sexual abuse.
Maxwell’s arrest comes nearly a year to the day of Epstein’s July 6, 2019 arrest.
[Image via Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images]
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